Even petty crimes warrent jury trial

Published: Wednesday, Apr. 2, 2014 - 9:04 pm
Last Modified: Friday, Apr. 4, 2014 - 5:37 am

Re "Beale protester denied jury trial by federal judge" (Page B2, April 2): Since she deliberately and publicly trespassed at Beale AFB, Shirley Osgood's demand for a jury trial is surely based on the hope of jury nullification from a sympathetic jury.

I'm not sympathetic to her cause, but I was surprised and disappointed to read that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a crimes which might result in up to six months in prison are only petty, and therefore are not covered by the U.S. Constitution's Sixth amendment, even though that amendment gives the accused the right of trial by jury, period.

Regardless of the circumstances in this instance, exempting minor violations to keep the justice system from impossible delays and expense is reasonable, but there is nothing petty about spending six months in prison.

-- Harvey Swenson, Sacramento

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